woensdag 25 mei 2016

How To Cram More Hours In Your Day

In one of I Love Lucy episodes from Season 1 Ricky puts Lucy on a schedule to teach her better time management. She gets attacked by other women for getting along with this idea. "What are you doing to wives of America?" inquires one of them. "We spent years telling our husbands we just don't have time to do it all!"

Nowadays women appear proud to be able to do it all: working, housekeeping, child care, gourmet cooking, yoga classes, you name it. Of course, if you are fully employed, domestic life will necessarily suffer, but a modern woman is supposed to juggle all these responsibilities with ease.

 And what if she doesn't work outside home? Then she still needs to be engaged in all sorts of  activities, just for the sake of it. Homeschooling, home business, volunteering, ministries, numerous Bible classes...Heaven forbid someone will catch her sitting in the garden with her feet up reading a book - after all, she's supposed to be a Proverbs 31 lady and never have a minute of rest.

Mid-20th century wives took their time to do things. They were proud to look well, to cook delicious meals and to keep house but they apparently didn't feel the urge to be superwomen and could always find time for a cup of tea with their neighbour or for some gossiping on the phone with a girlfriend.

They combined creative housekeeping with leisure and didn't try to recreate an assembly line working patterns in their households. The true meaning of Proverbs 31 wasn't discovered yet and the wives of America (and other countries) didn't have to be examples of efficiency.

The manuals for women on how to cram more hours in your day weren't written yet.

UPDATE: For more information, read this:
Homemaking Is Real Work And Real Ministry

25 opmerkingen:

  1. I am so happy we don't have the proverbs woman as a main model in our tradition. I never heard about it until I read some American blogs. I guess in other countries this has become an obsession of feminine virtue. I feel very encouraged by true and vivid Christian women not just theoretical "titus women" or proverbs women that may not exist. I have never thought about making things in the household after what is written in the book of proverbs. My model of true Christian virtue is the Mother of God: she used to do normal tasks of the house while being who she was. She worked as a housewife and had a very humble position in the society of her age, because very few knew her role in God's salvation plans, most people considered her just the wife of Joseph and later on his widow. She prayed and did normal things, but she mostly did God's will which is the first thing to do. She rarely spoke, advising everybody to do whatever Jesus would say. All holy women followed this model, including Martha and Mary the sisters of Lazarus. Following these women in prayer and holiness is a lifelong goal, I am just looking up to these real women and hope that through their prayers my spiritual life may improve at least a little.
    Saints are a proof that God is with us, making things happen. Without saints everything remains a nice theory to read about.

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    Reacties
    1. Alexandra, that is beautiful. I'm a convert to Catholicism (7 years), and Our Lady is truly, truly the woman to emulate. Not that I could ever match her, of course, but a worthier role model one will never find.

      The saints, too, provide much inspiration.

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  2. Alexandra, thank you for your comment and for your insight! By some reason, leading a quiet uneventful life isn't considered fashionable nowadays, and not only in the world but also in the church. Constant activity just for the sake of activity robs your mind and body of the necessary rest and probably hinders your spiritual life instead of improving it. It's not for nothing that the saints of old would go to a deserted place to pray.

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  3. Housewife from Finland26 mei 2016 om 04:01

    Alexandra, you wrote so beautifully of virgin Mary. Thank you. :)

    It seems to me, that people have always had more leisure time than they have nowadays -and jet we have all the time-saving machines etc. For example on the countryside, summers used to be very hectic, but winters not so. When dark came early and lighting was expensive, people could get so much more rest.

    Women actually had time to embroider their underwear and decorate it with hand-made lace. They must have enjoyed it; I can understand that lace and emroidery in bed linen might have been showing of, but nobody saw one's "anonymious".

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  4. Sanne, you're welcome, your observation about saints praying in deserted places is very true. The word "monk" derives from "monos" in Greek which means "alone" (with God).

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  5. Housewife from Finland26 mei 2016 om 04:08

    I actually think that people who feel they have to be busy all the time are trying to run away from something. It is not easy to sit still with your thoughts... If it was, we could all be saints. :)

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  6. Housewife, while I don't idealise the past, I do think we've lost something essential with our modern lifestyle. It's difficult to express with words, but life definitely seemed to be less hectic, even though working hours were often longer. I think one of the reasons is the disappearance of the housewife, but also the fact that the whole definition of leisure changed. Nowadays we are supposed to constantly do something,no matter what, to run around, to get involved in a million of activities. Women older than myself are proud that they never are home, because they are running from one event to another non-stop. Home is seen as a place of boredom, something for the elderly to sit behind their flowerpots, while the life goes by. In the times past people used to change for dinner. Dinner was an event. Nowadays we hardly take time to sit and talk with each other. We eat pizza out of the box in front of the telly. Add to this constant texting, twittering, facebooking, whatever. I read somewhere that the traditional crafts are disappearing even in the small villages as women prefer their i-pads and tablets to the knitting needles. We are constantly bombarded with information and encouraged to live faster. It starts when the children are still small and it never ends. Well, may be in a nursing home, I'm not sure.

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  7. And I think it's deliberately promoted, too. We are now fully in the bread and circuses stage of civilisational decline, distracted with entertainment while barbarians are storming the gates.

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  8. Alexandra, Housewife, exactly, why do Christians always talk about Proverbs 31 and never of Mary? While OT is also Scriptures and contains very important things, we are under New Covenant. It contains no command for married women to set shops, run businesses and generate an income and as usual, nowadays it's all about money.

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  9. Housewife from Finland26 mei 2016 om 09:30

    I think many women actually WANT to be busy and run business and such. They feel more important that way. Whic is veryt understandable concidering the cociety we live in.

    I think it is women who mostly talk about Proverbs 31 woman and homebusiness. If women would decide that they want virgin Mary and Martha&Mary (in balanced combination :)) to be their role models, christian men would be quite happy with that. At least those who are alredy somewhat pro-housewifery.

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  10. I've seen both: women "whose feet abide not in their house" and who attack other women for just quietly minding their own business and husbands pushing their unwilling wives into the workforce, and I'm not talking about lower income couples, either. In one situation, the husband earned 6 figures a year.

    And yet, men and women used not to be like this. I wonder, is there something in the water...

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  11. Sanne, the Proverbs feminine idea is very foreign for me. I read the Old Testament only from an explained version of the Bible because it difficult to understand. The OT prepares the times of the NT. I read the book of Ruth last week it's very short and the footnotes explain that Boaz and Ruth symbolically represent Christ and the gentiles (pagan converts), Christ accepts the gentiles as His legal bride like Boaz accepted righteous Ruth in spite of her foreign origin, as she followed the true God of the OT after abandonning her Moabitan gods. Boaz and Ruth give birth to a son that is King David's grand-grandfather and Jesus' ancestor through David.
    We have several readings from the book of Proverbs during Lent services but chapter 31 is not underlined or used as a model for women working and managing fields on their own. Righteous Sarah was a housewife and knew her place in her tent, righteous Rebecca used to help her father with the sheep but was at home making few errands.
    The Psalter is the only book of the OT that we always use in church service and home. It has real power to offer old words that apply for new covenant times (Jesus is called Son of David too). We have now the New testament that brings light and comprehension for the Old T. New wine has to be put in new containers, old wine remains in old containers, otherwise both wines will be wasted due to wrong preservation.

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  12. I totally agree that people are obsessed with material benefits and housewives are making life worth living which is more important than any business. I know children who miss their working mothers after school is over and they visit housewives from the neighbourhood who are always at home and can offer a snack or treat. children of busy moms like to play with children of housewives because the family life feels safe and food is always available on time.

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  13. Proverbs 31 is really an American thing. I have a feeling she's only promoted so much because there is some mentioning of money-making. I personally think that the divide is deeper than just a housewife vs a career woman. There are women who technically don't hold a job outside home and yet they are so occupied with various ministries and activities that they are never home, either.

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  14. It depends where your heart is. At home with your people or outside with the world. I am content to be home. Oh we get out and do volunteer work and shop and such but we are always so happy to be home again. Home is our refuge. We might not have much but to have much more we also would have more to contend with. What you have you have to keep clean ..keep working..and oh! Pay for!! :-)
    I hav heard Proverbs 31 women talked about as a working women and a non working women. I mean she worked inside her home but not in an outside job. I am not obsessed with one women's example. We were all made by God as individuals. The Bible shows us how to live a christian life. I an only imagine what Mary's life must have been like...or Joseph or Jesus's sisters or bothers. She was certainly a superb women in every sense of the word. Her example and the other women of the bible should be considered. They had to be very special to be included in the Bible's context. Mary of course being the greatest. It is between God and us how He wants us to raise our children and be in our marriage and all we do. Why should I go against what our heavenly Father says for me to do and look for work outside of my home when i feel i am to be home? Not home and working as hard as possible to make money. I work within my husbands income level. That is part of my job to use the money God has him earn and use it as it should be. I feel content..in fact I feel complete also at home.
    I read Lady Lydia's article before coming here. You often have coordinating articles. :) I love that you are both on the same page so -to-speak. I am very glad you are. You both put into words what I am only feeling in my heart. It is good to get the perspective of women from outside of the United States on all of this too. I am sad to not hear much about being a homemaker during church meetings. Also there is not not much fire and brimstone preaching any more. So much is 'feel good' preaching or such worldly thinking. Not mentoring us in the real meat of the Bible or hard hitting preaching we may be needing.
    I was glad to be that mother still at home on the block that the school children visited after school. I miss those days and would like to find a way to be of help to new mothers perhaps being able to mentor them threw actions at least or words to realize the value they have at home. No matter how old you are there is still plenty to learn about life. Many women I know stay out and go here and there so much and I found out why. Their homes are such a mess they can't stand to be home. They certainly never invite even their close friends inside their homes. That is sad. At this moment I have 5 women friends like that.
    I am sorry I am babbling on and on. It is good to come here and be able to read like minded women's posts and comments. Also to get a new perspective many times too. Sarah

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  15. You don't have to be sorry, Sarah, I always enjoy reading your comments! I'd like to add that I'm not against volunteering or Bible studies, or attending a craft club,however,for some women it feels like they are trying to score some points for doing all these things. It doesn't make one holier than her neighbour if she participates in 25 activities every day while the other just stays home and bakes cookies for her children. Also the churches nowadays often press and even shame women into participating in various groups and ministries, which is simply wrong. Volunteering is called volunteering because it's voluntary.

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  16. Housewife from Finland, you mentioned a very important aspect of rural life that we experience every year around November after harvesting and preserving vegetables has finished. In winter time we rest more while knitting and reading or just relaxing without any guilt. Every homemaker or stay-at-home member in the village spends more time with spiritual or socializing activities, enjoying the season. You are right about working just for the sake of working, we should find a ballance that fits our needs.

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  17. I really appreciate this post, Sanne'. Sometimes I feel like I should be doing more than just looking after my home and assisting my husband in his business. I have also friend who works full time, who feels I am languishing away here in my home and should be out working to occupy my mind.
    I have sometimes felt intimidated by the Proverbs woman, because she seems so capable and put together, and truthfully in some of the blogs I read, the ladies seem to be able to accomplish so much.
    I think that Alexandra has touched on something very important indeed.. Mary is the finest of women, and her example is a lesson to us all.
    We shouldn't feel as though we are "less than" just because we are not led to be a Proverbs woman, and I do believe it's true on many levels, that our consumer based society uses her to justify all the endless busywork and we end up missing out on really "living" trying to do it "all."

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  18. Proverbs 31 is the most feminist chapter of the whole Bible:)

    Seriously though, when you read blogs you see only a small part of the blogger's life. They mostly will show you the positive aspects only. Blogs are interesting and helpful but they are a bit like any reality TV show. Take them with a grain of salt:)

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  19. Hmmm... as far as I know, we are human BEings.

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  20. Housewife from Finland29 mei 2016 om 09:18

    Wonderful, Miriam. :)

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  21. I was wondering if I'd share the jewish point of view.

    If you ever attend a Shabbath meal on Friday night, you might witness the husband praising his wife with the words of Proverbs 31 before the actual meal. I have never heard of using Proverbs 31 woman as a role model or Proverbs 31 in general as a to-do list in jewish circles.

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    Reacties
    1. Of course, this is just A jewish point of view :-)

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  22. Yet, she IS used as a to-do list in Christian circles, with the heavy accent on ONE thing that she does. Isn't it strange?

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  23. Thinking bloggers lives are totally perfect is like going to an open house when someone is selling their home. That morning they practically spit shined everything so the house would look good for the showing. Bloggers have realized they only show the 'good' side of their lives and homes. Some now show what they want you to see special that they have done..then the other side of the room showing the pile of dirty dishes etc! lol Same way with what they write if it is all roses. No one's life is all happy. As it was said we only see part of a bloggers life. Like even our friends only know so much about ours.
    The talk of Proverbs 31 women not being talked much of in Europe. It is Nice to know what is happening other places..or not. :) As I said I hear different interpretations on her work. All in home or for the home family? Or some outside only for her own interest? No matter I still don't think it declares all women should work outside the home. Where in our Bible does it say others did? :) Sarah

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